Years of planning or happy accidents?
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Years of planning or happy accidents?

Interview with wildlife and landscape photographer Connull Lang.

Connull Lang

Tell us a bit about you and how your passion for landscape photography started.

I think landscape photography came about from my habit of heading out to various locations around the area I lived to sort of unwind and recharge a bit. I always feel re-energised from some quiet time surrounded by nature and taking a camera with me seemed to lead naturally into landscape photography.

I used to live in a fairly large (by NZ standards) city in Canada of over a million people and, coming from a smaller New Zealand town, I often felt the need to be away from the city and people, so early morning drives for hikes in the mountains became my normal weekend event. I loved the peaceful beauty of it all, so trying to capture some of that feeling became a sort of challenge for me.

My goal has always been to take away an image that can reconnect me with those moments, the stillness when the haunting call of a Loon echoes across a lake or the awe I felt when a Moose stepped out of the trees and cast a wary eye in my direction.

What's your background in photography?

I'm not entirely sure I have a background in photography. My parents both had an interest in photography when I was very young and I have a memory of my father showing me a long exposure photo he took back in the 80's with sparklers on Guy Fawkes night which stuck in my mind. I was given a very basic camera that took 110 style film cartridges when I was about five years old and I loved it. However, I don't recall ever getting anything other than close up pictures of my fingers back when I managed to get the film developed. So that was probably the end of that until I purchased a basic Nikon D40 DSLR in England back in the early 2000's and very slowly started learning how to use it.

How would you define your photographic style?

In terms of what I love photographing the most, the list toppers would have to be landscapes and wildlife. I do take a lot of sporting events and motorsports photos and I do photograph the odd wedding as a favour to people I know, but for myself, I always stick to my favourites. I do love a nice long exposure of waves breaking over rocks at the beach, but that is one I haven't quite nailed yet. I also have a bit of thing for a nice abandoned rural building.

I don't think I could define my work, other than "trial and error". I do spend a lot of time thinking about images I would like to take, working them out in my mind. And I do try to take landscape images that are out of the norm, something other than the everyday Instagram photo, but I have been known to fall into the Instagram trap on occasion.

I love the idea of using a telephoto lens for landscape photography and find that it can bring out smaller details or patterns of a landscape image that would otherwise be lost, which gives me the opportunity to put my own spin on a location that might have been seen a million times before.

What does your photography workflow look like when you’re out in the field?

I'll often visit the location ahead of time if I'm not familiar with the area, that way I can take a look for locations in the daylight, think out my composition and generally take a look around. I do tend to take my photos in the 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after sunrise, so visiting the location prior to shooting does help when stumbling around in the dark holding an expensive camera and lens.

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